Murder on the Nile ! Audition Pieces

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Auditions for Murder on the Nile – our new year production are on next week 23rd and 25th October at the Church Hall Monastery Gardens at 7.30 – we’d love to see you there.

Here is a link to the auction pieces to be used at the audition – with character descriptions below

Audition Pieces

In the meantime – here are the thoughts of our esteemed Director Sir Granville Rush !

Well here we are again at the start of another Water lane extravaganza at Rhodes. Although this time, by way of a very much needed change or more truthfully because we had run out of ideas, diverting away from our recent trend for 70s and 80s sit-coms towards the intellectual and highbrow deep dramas from the feathery quill of Agatha Christie.  –  I think not!   –  At least it will be Agatha Christie and will be great fun to do and more importantly it will put posteriors on the plush pads of Rhodes.

The popularity of Agatha Christie, more than any other crime writer, lies less in the drama and more in the literary, and more recently visual, “crossword” plots she creates. We are by nature and evolution an animal of instinctive enquiry striving to fathom the complicated and resolve the puzzle. Christie vitalises this instinct by the simplicity of her writing allowing us a lot of room for the imagination. She provides just enough information as impetus for the brain to begin it’s imaginative work with scenery, characters, clever misdirection, subverting what we take for granted and above all with brilliant who-done-it solutions. Her books may not be Intellectual and highbrow, but she is certainly a great storyteller.

Let’s now get back to ”Murder on the Nile” which should not be confused with “Death on the Nile” as I will explain.

The play was based on her 1937 novel “Death on the Nile” ironically starting life as a play itself which she called “Moon on the Nile”. In 1942 an actor friend persuaded Christie to resurrect the play version in order for him to take on the role of Hercule Poirot. However, she was getting very tired of her little irritating Belgian detective and so exclude Poirot from the drama altogether in favour of a new character, Canon Ambrose Pennefather. The play opened in Dundee under yet another name “Hidden Horizon” and eventually at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End in March 1946 as “Murder on the Nile”.  Still with me?

At this point I must say that her decision to eliminate Poirot from the plot is a godsend for any director. Trying to find a short fat pompous French accented actor amongst Water Lane’s finest is almost impossible! – Answers on a postcard (but don’t send them to me).

So now to the plot!

Murder on the Nile  –  The synopsis                                                                                                                 Simon Mostyn and his wealthy socialite wife Kay find themselves being pursued on their honeymoon by Jacqueline, the ex-fiance of the newly wedded groom. Also on board are a mysterious cynical man, a mid European doctor, a pompous upper class woman and her quiet plain niece. Tragedy strikes and a body is discovered, all fingers point to Jacqueline. However, everything is not what it seems and holidaying cleric Canon Pennefather, Kay’s godfather, is drawn into a web of intrigue anddeceit as he finds himself on the trail of a ruthless murderer. Murder on the Nile has a host of colourful characters and all the twists and turns of a classic Christie thriller to keep you guessing to the final shattering climax

The characters

Canon Ambrose Pennefather   (M)  –      50s/60s, clergyman, , – Kay’s uncle/godfather.

Kay Ridgeway-Mostyn            (F)     –      30S/40S+, attractive, assured and used to her own way  “supposedly” the richest woman in England.

Simon Mostyn                          (M)   –      35/40S+ (could be 40s+), attractive boyish charmer, shallow –  Kay’s husband.

Jacqueline de Severac              (F)     –      30/40S, dark and vivacious, Kay’s ex-best friend and Simon’s ex-fiancée.

Helen Ffoliot-Ffoulkes            (F)     –      50s/70s, a wealthy autocratic snob

Christina Grant                         (F)     –      20/35+, sweet natured and even tempered – Miss Ffoliot- Ffoulkes’ niece

William Smith                         (M)   –      30S/50s, revolutionary with communist outlook, underneath a well educated titled man.

Dr. Bessner                              (M)   –      40S/50s+, rather stout doctor with a thick middle-                                                 European accent – from a country which Kay’s father ruined.

Louise                                       (F)     –      20s/40s+, (could be younger or older) French accented- Kay’s maid

Cpt. McNaught                         (M)   –      40S/60S The Lotus’s captain

Steward                                    (M)   –      20s/40s+ Egyptian, speaks broken English







We’re going down the Christmas Market !!

Its the annual Bishop’s Stortford Christmas Market on North Street on Saturday 1st December.
Festive oration and musical  accompaniment is to be provided by us at Water Lane.
This will consist of festive based monologues and duologues and inter dispersed with suitably picked music.
Currently we have 5-6 players who will perform their festive offering.
But will still have room to fit more people in so please show your interest.
If you would like to take part email us at or get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram 
Even if you don’t want to take part please come along and say hello.
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One act one night- the big review by Lynda

We asked our very own Lynda Shelverton to give us an unbiased view of the goings on on last Friday night – this is what she said !!

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‘On Friday I went along to Water Lane Theatre Company’s  in house event of One Act One Night. The programme started with a very funny 5 handed sketch called Nickers. The old adage of,  if you fail to plan then you will plan to fail, proved to be very true when one hapless burglar finds that she is not the only one to have the idea of targeting this particular  household to rob. The sketch was very funny and very imaginatively directed with action tacking place  from the start set amongst the audience. 
The next act was  a short piece from the stage play of Dangerous Liaisons. The actors had learnt their lines independently and were only going to be performing together for the first time that evening. The characters of the sketch the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Vamont who are two rivals (and ex lovers) are meeting  up to vie with each other in their plans to exploit others with each trying get the upper hand with each other, was very expertly performed by the two actors. They really brought across the story of the use of seduction as a weapon to socially control others , would ultimately bring them to a state of war with each other.
The evening continued  with a musical interlude, a  couple of  Shakespeare’s sonnets were beautifully sung by Sean Burke accompanying himself on the Guitar.
Then came the final offering of the evening. The  greatly missed Victoria Wood’s wonderful set of sketches that she wrote for her show “As seen on TV   (1985) . Acorn Antiques, the well known story set in a shop in the made up town of Manchesterford. The cast brilliantly brought to the stage these wonderful sketches both in characterisation , bad acting , set malfunctions, poor entrance timings  and all the other wonderfully devised mistakes that Ms Wood had brilliantly written.
Well done to all. At the evenings end I went away feeling very happy and very thankful that as a member of this wonderful company I was able to, for one night only, be thoroughly entertained.’


There is a new shop opening this Friday in the heart of Bishops Stortford and its called ……. Acorn Antiques!


Still glowing from the success of their original antiques shop, on the outskirts of Manchesterford, the owners of Acorn Antiques are excited to announce that they, along with their trusty staff and customers will be opening a very special new ‘pop up shop’ in Bishops Stortford, ’if you please’ this Friday evening – to a glittering fanfare for local residents!

Miss Babs, Miss Berta, their loyal daily Mrs Overall, Derek the handyman, Trixie from packing, and not forgetting the debonair Clifford and smooth talking cousin Jerez, will be there to meet and greet you, along with a lovely presenter, covering the nights events for the regional BBC news desk, a couple of their most loyal customers and……. well a rather harassed stage manager too?!

So settle in with a mug of their finest homemade sherry and a couple of Mrs O’s ginger bourbons and enjoy hearing all of their exciting news and views, not to mention what’s in the latest deliverers and who’s finally made it to the ‘ends of line’ display!

Searching out that ‘must have’ treasure will never be the same again once you have popped in to Acorn Antiques.

In case you hadn’t guessed  – Acorn Antiques is going to be perform as part of our Our One Act One Night evening on this Friday 28th September at St Michael’s Primary School Apton Road – you can come along and pay £5 on the door – curtain up 7.30 – bring your own refreshments.


Dangerous Liaisons – more dangerous than normal

Our One Act One Night evening is coming on the Friday 28th September at St Michael’s Primary School – you can come along and pay on the door.

Our second offering of the night is going to be two scenes from Dangerous Liaisons written by Christopher Hampton.

The reason for the added danger is that, unusually, Richard Pink and Rebecca Faulkner (who normally perform as singing duo ‘Cider At Yours’) have elected to perform the piece without rehearsing it at all!2FF1E819-E48C-4B9A-8DF0-F3FF873AC97D

Sounds like madness, so we asked Richard why …

‘Its a really edgy piece about a power struggle between two very Machiavellian and ruthless people – former lovers – who use every means necessary prove their authority – it’s intense and we thought it would add another layer of intensity if we didn’t know what each other were going to do on the night. We’ve met once to run the lines to get used to hearing each other speak the cues but none of the moves are planned and anything could happen’

Rebecca added ‘ I’ve got one or two interesting moved up my sleeve that Richard will have to contend with – it’s going to be really interesting and if it goes wrong we’ll just have dig ourselves out of it’

Well, its different thats for sure – we can’t wait to see what they do !!!



Nickers !

Our One Act One Night evening is coming on the Friday 28th September at St Michael’s Primary Schools – you can come along and pay on the door.  We like people to try out new things and so Sally Fenton has decide to try her hand directing for the first time in a while – good for her we say – here are her thoughts on getting back in the Director’s chair!!

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Here’s our Sally in full flow in our production of Love’s Labours Lost last year – lets hope she looks less worried for this one !

When I agreed (i.e. had my arm twisted 😉) to direct something for One Act One Night, I did so with some trepidation because I didn’t have a play in mind and I haven’t directed anything since 1999!

Fortunately, the experienced directors at Water Lane pointed me to the Lazy Bee website which has hundreds of play scripts available for use by amateur groups. For my new foray into directing, I was keen to do a comedy and to have a relatively small cast and so, after reading through more than 20 scripts, I picked Nickers.

Nickers is about four, rather incompetent burglars (the eponymous ‘nickers’). It’s not Ayckbourn but the script is witty, with well written dialogue and the four main cast members can be male or female – useful when casting.

So, my first hurdle is solved – I have a play; now to direct it successfully! You’ll have to ask me in a few weeks about my directing style! But I know I’ll be helped in this new adventure by my excellent & supportive cast (Nicki, Rachel, Penny, Amanda & John). I hope we all enjoy the journey – and I hope our audience enjoys the outcome!


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